Making an extraordinary script look extraordinarily good using the Canon Cinema EOS C500 MK II

Film production requires finding the balance between technical excellence and cost-efficiency. The crew at Nordisk Film were truly impressed with Canon Cinema EOS C500 MK II.

One of the oldest film companies in the world chose Canon Cinema EOS C500 MK II

Founded in 1906, Nordisk Film is among the leading entertainment companies in the Nordics.
Creative film production requires openminded experimentation and finding the optimal balance between technical excellence and cost-efficiency. From test shoots to production and editing, Canon Cinema EOS C500 MK II made such an impression on the Nordisk Film’s crew that may just become a stable in their toolkit.

Customer – Nordisk Film
Location – Valby, Denmark

  • The challenge

    Cinema-quality imaging equipment is often a heavy investment for a production company. Not just costly, they are also physically heavy. The game changed when Canon rolled out the C500 MK II. The full-frame camera’s light-weight body and superb technical capabilities offer freedom of movement without compromising on image quality.

  • The solution

    Canon Cinema EOS C500 MK II fulfils strict technical requirements at such an advantageous price point that Nordisk Film opted to use two identical camera bodies when shooting “All for four”. In use, the light and compact camera proved its excellence, supporting creative visual expression and expediting the filming and post-production processes.

“The film’s magical universe
gave us freedom to go all
out on the visuals.”

Canon Camera

The products used in the project

Canon Cinema EOS C500 MK II features a 5.9K full-frame sensor in a compact body, with internal RAW light recording and interchangeable lens mounts.

An extraordinary movie with an unusual plot deserves stunning visuals

Few Danish movies have a cast as impressive as the “All for One” (Alle for en) series, which has recently been expanded with the fourth title, “All for Four” (Alle for fire).

The latest star parade includes Mick Øgendahl, Anders W. Berthelsen, Lars Ranthe, Hella Joof, Ulf Pilgaard and Gordon Kennedy. In the three previous movies, we have seen Kim Bodnia, Jonatan Spang, Kurt Ravn, Stine Stengade, Rasmus Bjerg, Mille Dinesen and even Rutger Hauer.

This time another new star was added to the mix in the shape of the Canon Cinema EOS C500 MK II. What could have been just another choice in the moviemaking process, turned out to be fundamental decision in terms of the visual outcome and the smoothness of the production process.

Bringing an abstract film universe alive

The film series is set in quite an extraordinary universe. The story revolves around four childhood friends who get mixed up in a row of unfortunate clashed between past and present. One of the friends is now a police officer while the rest live outside the law. One serves slush ice vodka drinks at his son’s christening, while another is convinced that a cyclops is an Icelandic horse.

The series has been extremely popular with Danish movie audiences. The first movie sold more than 400,000 cinema tickets, which is quite many in Denmark. The comical set-up, unusual characters and highly caricatured plot give the film-makers freedom to play around with visual expression.

“The film’s magical universe gave us freedom to go all out on the visuals,” explains director Rasmus Heide. Not surprisingly the cinematographer Rasmus Heise – almost the namesake of the director – also wanted to make the movie look extraordinarily good. Heise has been DOP on numerous well-known movies: "I Kill Giants", and Academy Award winning "Helium", as well as TV-series such as "The Rain" and the HBO production "The Outsider".

“We were inspired by the Hangover movies. We wanted to make something that really kicked ass visually,” says Rasmus Heise, and continues: “Why not make a comedy with anamorphic lenses, we thought.” For this, the Canon Cinema EOS C500 MK II would be a great match. He did a couple of sample shots. As soon as the director saw the footage, it was agreed.

Compact and adaptable camera with breath-taking image quality

When Canon announced the EOS C500 MK II and revealed its specifications and capabilities, Rasmus Heise was immediately impressed. “Considering how light the body is for a full-frame camera, the ability to shoot RAW without adding equipment as well as the opportunity to use a PL mount, I thought it sounded perfect,” the cinematographer explains.

First, he bought one for himself. “I have always wanted a smaller camera in my bag, as I often travel to shoot commercials in locations where I want to capture a certain light. Until now, such professional quality has only been available with bigger cameras,” he explains.

Due to travel restrictions posed by the Covid 19 pandemic, Heise had ample opportunity to play with his new toy. “I did a short motion picture and a couple of commercials, and I was really impressed with the colour grading.”

The C500 MK II turned out to be better than he had imagined. “It was amazing to have found a camera that is both portable and easy to use, and which I can set up exactly as I want”, Rasmus elaborates. The camera is easy to disassemble and reassemble.

“I love how I can strip down the camera and run like the wind, when necessary,” says Heise, who is also pleased with the controls. “I know not everyone likes to have many buttons, but I do! With most other cameras, you need a view finder or a monitor to control it. But with the C500 MK II, all adjustments can be made on the camera, making it perfect for underwater photography or gimbals.”

Doubling up to gain flexibility: Two identical cameras for versatile footage

Rasmus Heise persuaded the film crew to add another Canon Cinema C500MKII to the production kit to be able to shoot the film with two identical cameras. The flexibility gained through this choice, turned out to be a key factor for the entire movie-making process.

The two-camera setup saved time for both the actors and the crew, as it was possible to speed up processes and work more efficiently. It is hugely beneficial when the equipment doesn’t set limitations. Small, lightweight, and easy to operate, the Canon Cinema C500 MK II fits wherever it is needed. In the case of this film, a lot of tight corners and cramped spaces as Ralf, the character of Mick Øgendahl, keeps ending up inside vents, toilets and such. “It is an advantage when the camera is small and easy to work with,” points out the director Rasmus Heide.

The director also noticed a huge difference in the visual outcome: “I was extremely happy with what I saw. The editor, who also worked on the three previous films, noticed a definite improvement in the way we had been able to shoot the scenes. We now had more footage, more angles, and different sizes in less time. It all brings flexibility for the editor.”

While he doesn’t usually get too involved with the technical aspects, Heide said he has never before had such great material to work with. “We definitely managed to achieve the visual ambitions we strived towards,” the director states. The cinematographer’s instincts and their joint decisions paid off.

The cost-efficient high-quality setup streamlined workflow during shooting and editing

The Canon Cinema EOS C500 MK II is cheaper than many similar cinema-quality cameras in the market. Which is why the crew was able to use two cameras throughout filming. This had a huge impact on production timetables, costs, and the final result.

“By having two cameras on set every day, we avoided having to anticipate when we would need a gimbal or a crane,” Rasmus Heise explains, “Normally we can only use cranes a few days per shoot, but now we have gimbal and crane footage for all 30 days of shooting.”

Despite the lower price point, Rasmus Heise did not come across any weaknesses in EOS C500 MK II. In fact, his expectations were surpassed. The results were so good, that Rasmus Heise is ready for round two.

“I will definitely use this camera again. I already have another movie in the pipeline, which I would like to film with the C500 MK II,” Rasmus Heise says. The statement gets the thumbs up from the director as well.

“If you do a new film for a series, you have to make it better, bigger and stronger. It makes no sense to go back to an existing storyline and do a similar production,” contemplates Rasmus Heide, “I feel like we have reached a new level in visual storytelling.”

“All for Four” opened in Danish movie theatres in 2022.

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